June 10, 2018
HONOR THE BANNER OF GOD'S PRESENCE
June 14 is Flag Day. Sunday I’m preaching on “Honor the Banner of God’s Presence” from Psalm 60. In the War of 1812 the British set fire to Washington D.C., burning the Capitol, the Treasury and the President’s house. Then England bombed Baltimore for 25 hours. A lawyer named Francis Scott Key watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry. During the night the red flames seemed to signal that the British had destroyed the fort and taken Baltimore. But the next morning when he saw that the American flag still flew over the fort he knew that the Americans had won. Key wrote a poem and set it to a popular tune. His brother distributed the song under the name, “The Defense of Fort McHenry.” We now call it “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Part of the second verse reads:
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must if our cause it is just.
And this be our motto: “In God is Our Trust!”
And the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
In Psalm 60 David teaches us to raise a banner of respect for God and others. In verses 3-5 he writes:
You have made your people experience hardship. . .
You have given a banner to those who fear you
That it may be displayed because of the truth.
Banners were raised to rally the troops. God wants us to raise the banner of respecting God and others, going forth as an army to defeat Satan. This requires suffering and sacrifice, but it builds an eternal kingdom. We can then raise the banner of victory. In verse 12 David sings:
Through God we shall do valiantly
And it is he who will tread down our adversaries.
Please come Sunday and celebrate with us the banner of God’s presence. Whether we’re contemplating spiritual victory in Jesus or victory in our nation, we can be confident in God’s grace. I just got out of the hospital today (Thursday) because of kidney stones. On Wednesday morning I was in extreme pain. But while in the hospital I was able to pray with a doctor to receive Christ! I’ll be going back in ten days to get the stones surgically removed. God will supply the victory! Sometimes we simply need to wait on him and believe that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord” (Romans 8:28). But while we wait we can raise the banner of the cross and rally the troops to claim victory in Jesus.
Don’t forget our Church Council Meeting this Sunday at 6:00 p.m. We’ll be looking at our new Bylaws proposal. Please pray for this process. God has been working miraculously in our church and in people’s lives. But there has also been a lot of suffering and mourning. Let’s raise the banner of love and hope. Remember, “His banner over me is love” (Song of Solomon 2:4)
Dr. Jim Meek